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‘Entrepreneur’ magazine talks with DreamMaker franchise owner Steve Betts about his journey from banker to remodeling franchise owner

DreamMaker franchise owner Steve Betts, who was recently named a regional Franchisee of the Year at our annual reunion, has won the attention of “Entrepreneur” magazine. The national publication was intrigued by Steve’s journey from banker to remodeling franchise owner, and it chose to profile him in its “Franchise Players” column.

Steve isn’t a remodeler by background. He grew up on a farm and learned to be good with his hands. He learned about DreamMaker from one of his banking clients who owned the remodeling franchise location in Amarillo, Texas. Steve was intrigued by the business, saw that it was successful and decided to pursue it. He’s glad — and we’re glad — that he did.

You can read a longer conversation with Steve here. Here are some excerpts from the “Entrepreneur” column:

Why franchising?
A typical white-collar person eventually will feel trapped in their job or will feel like they have hit a ceiling. Their earning potential is limited. The only way to earn more is to work harder and do more. If my compensation is commission-based — which it increasingly seems like it is for everybody— then I have to sell more this year than I did last year to make a little more money. I wanted to be rewarded for my work in proportion to the amount of time I put into it.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I graduated with a master’s degree in economics from Oklahoma State. After college, I went into banking. I worked for a corporate bank in Wichita that had a lot of turnover because of bank mergers, and the turnover created a lot of opportunity for me.

Everything was performance-based, which was good, but it was a corporate environment where my boss was changing every six months to a year. The new boss always wanted to improve the numbers so that he could get promoted. After a while, you see that you can’t continually increase things by 50 percent to 100 percent, and I felt like decisions were being driven by the bank’s numbers, not by what was in the customer’s best interest.

I left that job for a family-owned bank in Amarillo. I got there, and it was like a time warp. People stayed for 30 to 40 years before they retired. They started there, and they retired there. There was much more of a focus on customer service, but your opportunity to advance was extremely limited.

I always wanted to own my own business. Over the last year or two I was at the bank, I worked with the person who owned the DreamMaker franchise in Amarillo. He told me he loved DreamMaker, that it had transformed the way he did business and he was making good money doing it. Unfortunately, his dad had become ill and lived in Waco, and he was wanting to sell his location and move. I made the jump and started doing sales for him as an employee with an eye toward buying the business.

I actually wound up buying an open territory in Lubbock, 120 miles south, where we started a DreamMaker from scratch. Within a year, we bought the franchise in Amarillo, as well.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?
It is a business based on Biblical principles. You start to see the heart of Doug (Dwyer, DreamMaker president) and see that he is different. For him, it’s not about money, per se. No question, he is a hard negotiator trying to make a profit, but not at the expense of others. He has integrity.

The other thing I appreciate is the strength of the other franchisees. You just see really, really good people morally who are doing their best and working to get better, and who are willing to share ideas and help you out. It’s a real family atmosphere. From a business standpoint, if you are willing to plug in, you can talk to two or three guys and find out what has worked for them and what they would do differently if they had a chance to start over. That sharing, to me, is the strength of the whole organization.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Talk to existing franchisees, visit a working location and ask lots of questions. Make sure you have an adequate reserve of money (three months' worth of operating capital minimum and a line of credit). Try and recruit the highest caliber people as employees from the very beginning. Most importantly, keep an open mind and be willing to change the way you are doing things.

Learn more about DreamMaker

Ready to learn more? DreamMaker’s average same-store sales increased 23% in 2013, and to understand the business model and culture that is driving growth, visit our research pages. You can also read more interviews with franchisees like Steve on our blog. To learn even more, and to start a conversation, fill out a form to download our free franchise report. We look forward to speaking with you!

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